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Government commissions study on nanotechnology

Our Bureau

Chennai , Dec. 12

THE Indian National Academy of Engineering has been asked by the Union Government to prepare a policy document on the steps the country could take to be in the forefront of developments in the field of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology deals with the way dramatic improvements could be made in areas such as fabrication of materials and medicine by arranging atoms according to our needs. The properties of anything from computer chips to human beings can be made-to-order by altering the arrangement of atoms.

The Academy's President, Dr A. Ramakrishna (he is also the Deputy Managing Director of Larsen & Toubro), said the policy document would give "a sense about how India can come to the forefront." The document is expected be ready in about three months.

Inputs for the policy document are to come from the discussions on the subject in Chennai where the Academy's annual function is under way.

Putting the government's request in context, the Academy's Honorary Secretary, Dr Placid Rodriguez, said the aim was to ensure that even if India missed the revolution in micro-electronic materials, the country should be at the cutting edge of progress in nanotechnology.

Another paper that the Academy has been commissioned to prepare is one on the global digital divide — the uneven access to benefits of progress in information technology. The US-based Confederation of Academies of Engineering in Technological Sciences has commissioned the paper.

The Academy was set up in 1988, and currently has 428 fellows — Fellowship is only through invitation. Apart from the 428, the Academy also has 28 overseas fellows.

For 2003, the Academy has chosen Dr S. Varadarajan and Prof. Roddam Narasimha for the Life Time Contribution award. Earlier awardees include Dr J.J. Irani and Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

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